CRAWFORD | Could Texas turn McDonnell's head? Jurich vows to fight for his coach
University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich expects Texas to make a play for Cardinals' baseball coach Dan McDonnell. He says he'll "go down fighting" to keep him.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- This call would be like one on the bullpen phone. You have to pick it up.
Hours after legendary Texas baseball coach Augie Garrido announced that he was hanging it up after five College World Series titles and a collegiate record of 1,950 wins, University of Louisville coach Dan McDonnell's name began buzzing as a candidate to replace him.
U of L athletic director Tom Jurich -- who has been down this road before with football coach Charlie Strong -- understands it.
"If you're an athletic director at our level and you've got an opening, if you don't have Dan McDonnell on the top of your list, you're not doing your job," Jurich said Monday after the Cards were named the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
McDonnell has been the complete package since even before being hired in Louisville. Jurich recalled Monday bringing McDonnell to campus and taking him to Churchill Downs.
"There was a race going on and he couldn't care less about the horses," Jurich said. "He wanted to show me his book and all the things that were in it. You all (media) have come to know Dan very well. He's extremely detail-minded. And he had a plan for doing this, and everything he said, he expounded on."
Look, Texas, for McDonnell, could be a match made in heaven. Recruiting is as easy as getting in the car. The interest in baseball at all levels there is tremendous. The competition, of course, is keen. Texas A&M and Texas Tech both were Top 5 national seeds.
Garrido had already won two national titles when he got to Texas. As coach of the Longhorns, he won three more, and went to the College World Series eight times. You've got Roger Clemens and more than 100 other alums who have played in the Major Leagues.
You've got the Longhorn Network and a stadium that seats 6,756 with the largest athletic budget in the nation.
Jurich understands all that. And he understands that Texas might not be the only school that comes calling. But he had a clear message on Monday. He said he believes McDonnell's has built something special at Louisville and is a "perfect fit with the community." He says he thinks McDonnell can have all the success he's looking for -- and be rewarded for it -- right here.
"It's my job to do everything in my power to keep him here," Jurich said. "Because not only is he a terrific coach -- as good a coach as has ever been in the game, and I grew up with Rod Dedeaux out at USC, I know the reputation he had -- but what Dan's been able to do here has been tremendous," Jurich said. "The kind of man he is is what attracts everyone to him. But I will promise you this -- I will go down fighting to keep him, because he's turned himself into an icon in this community. Not that he wanted to do that, but the job he's done, I think there's just a handful of coaches on his level."
The Cardinals begin play in the NCAA Tournament this Friday against Western Michigan.
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